BAE Chimborazo (RA-70), Ecuador Navy
Life

Ecuador Navy Armada Includes WWII Tugboat

“fate unknown” 
— Status of the subject of this post, according to this page

Ecuador Navy ships periodically anchor in Puerto Lopez bay. Military men and women come to town and play fútbol and volleyball, eat at restaurants and generally enjoy some time on land. They are always polite and friendly. Even their casual tops and shorts are identical and well pressed.

Ed, a Peace Corps worker in town, mentioned that the boat currently anchored offshore was previously a WWII tugboat for the USA. I began to research this ship and found it has a long history.

BAE Chimborazo (RA-70) - Formerly USS CHOWANOC
BAE Chimborazo (RA-70) anchored off Puerto Lopez
November 5, 2017


Ecuador’s Navy Armada includes an Abnaki class Fleet Ocean Tug named BAE Chimborazo (RA-70). Initially commissioned for the USA Navy February 21, 1944 as the USS CHOWANOC AT-100, then the USS CHOWANOC AFT-100 May 15, 1944, this tugboat received four battle stars in WWII and one in the Korean War (source here).

The USS CHOWANOC AFT-100 participated in four WWII campaigns, one Korean War campaign, and seven Vietnam War campaigns (source: here).

On October 1, 1977, the tug was transferred to the Ecuador Navy and renamed BAE Chimborazo (RA-70). Today, the BAE Chimborazo (RA-70) is used as a Ecuador Navy training vessel, traveling the 2237 km coastline. It was also used in relief efforts after the 7.8 April 16, 2016 Ecuador Earthquake.

BAE Chimborazo (RA-70) - Formerly USS CHOWANOC
BAE Chimborazo (RA-70) anchored off Puerto Lopez
November 5, 2017

Thanks to Ed of the Peace Corps for mentioning the history of the military ship in harbor. It was an interesting ship to research.

WWII Tugboat repurposed to Ecuador Navy

 

Emily is a US Expat in Ecuador. She grew up on a Minnesota farm, worked in IT in California's Silicon Valley, then moved to a coastal Ecuador fishing village. Emily's goal is to share Ecuador with you, one snippet at a time. Topics include attractions, compassion, ecotourism, Ecuador products, everyday Ecuador, and flora and fauna. Please let Emily know what you would like to read more about!

7 Comments

  • Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Emily – love the photos … and what they've managed to help make the old military ship of value to Ecuador today … especially when it comes to relief efforts … I expect Ed has some other ideas up his sleeve for you to look at – cheers Hilary

  • John B Tata

    Emily,

    I was 2nd in command of USS Chowanoc (ATF 100) , 1969-1970. If you would like a history of our operations during 1969, I will be happy to email to you. I hope the old girl is working well for her new owners.

  • Sam McGovern

    Emily: A number of us old Navy sailors (and ex- USS Chowanoc crewmembers) still live in San Diego and keep up on news of our old ship. Amazing she is still going strong after all this time. We took her to Viet Nam and into North Viet Nam during the final stages of the war. If you happen to be familiar with the TV show “Pawn Stars” and the Old Man (R. Harrison), well this is the ship he spent five years on.
    Thanks for putting the Chowanoc on the internet !!

    • Emily Bloomquist

      Hi Sam, I am so glad you found this page! How fun to find out that your old ship is here and going strong. I just looked up the cast of Pawn Stars so now have a face to go with one of the former Navy sailors. Others in town will be excited to know you wrote – thank you. We enjoy seeing your old ship off our shores here in Ecuador.

      Thank you very much for your service.

  • John Tata

    Emily,

    I am a Chawonoc sailor from 69-70, please keep me posted on events with the old girl. Also, I am collecting names of shipmates onboard in December 1969, as they need to know they are in the Agent Orange population.

    Keep up the good work.

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